Quebec’s Plan to Improve Palliative Care

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As some of you may know, the conversation on assisted suicide is not simply an American phenomenon; this debate is global.

Canada is in the midst of the assisted suicide debate, and the federal government is asking for more time to consider implementation of an assisted suicide law.  Even Canada, considered to have one of the most liberal governments in the world, recognizes that rushing into this is a bad idea.

In addition, there are strong voices who would rather explore what leads to assisted suicide demand in the first place.  That’s why the Health Minister of Quebec, Gaétan Barrette, has put forward a plan to invest in improvements to palliative care.

What a shocking thought: maybe we could actually improve end-of-life care, rather than just trying to skip over it and look the other way.

In a recent report from the Montreal Gazette, they lay out the Health Minister’s bold claim: “‘[Palliative care] policies are random in Quebec, the implementation of policies is random … I would say, politely, that it’s not uniform.’”  Health Minister Barrette recognizes that we must fundamentally reform end-of-life care, making sure that all patients can be guaranteed quality treatment. 

The Montreal Gazette Editorial Board called “the right thing to do at the right time,” stating that the “emotionally charged” assisted suicide debate is “inextricably linked to palliative care.”

We couldn’t agree more, and this should be simple.  It is common sense that we would consider the programs we already have before rushing into a dangerous new policy with tremendously negative side effects.  That’s as true in Maryland as it is in Canada.

The MD General Assembly needs to be made aware of this approach, and they need to take it up as soon as possible.

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